One of the things that took some adjusting for me when watching Gokaiger was getting a handle on a world view that I was unfamiliar to me. Now I love exploring world views. I love to get my head around how different people understand the world and their place in it. People look at me like I’m a freak (a title that I’m happy to hold) when I spend more time pulling apart the different world views in a movie than I do enjoying the explosions. Which by the way, if your movie doesn’t have explosions in it, you better bring your A Game because you’re going to have to work hard for my attention. So here I am watching Gokaiger. And it’s the first time I’ve seriously sat down to watch a long form Japanese kids show that hasn’t been reworked for Western audiences. And I’m in love with the costumes. And I’m in love with the characters. And yes, I’m in love with the explosions. But I’m also experiencing a new (to me) world view.
And it’s all about protecting smiles.
Captain Marvelous is one of my all time favourite characters. I even considered buying a Captain Marvelous cosplay costume at one point. I’ll take this pirate captain over Johnny Depp any day. Here you have a reckless and brash young man who never backs down. Someone who will literally take a beating and respond with a cheeky smirk. There’s a scene in the first episode of Gokaiger where the team are standing in the middle of the street when the evil Zangyack attack. The other four Gokaigers duck for cover while explosions surround them. Not Captain Marvelous. He doesn’t even flinch. He stands there with his arms crossed and a look on his face that says “Is that the best you’ve got?” I love this man.
I’m not 100% sure what led me down this path. I think the first thing that started the niggling in the back of my brain was my favourite podcast – Major Spoilers. One of the hosts, Matthew, had mentioned a few times that he was watching Super Sentai, the Japanese show that provided the action scenes for Power Rangers. And if Major Spoilers talks about it, I usually file it in that part of my brain marked “worth checking out”. A bit later, a number of websites I check out were getting excited over something called the 199 Hero Great Battle, that had every Super Sentai team member simultaneously involved in a giant battle sequence. Hundreds of brightly coloured spandex suits involved in an epic martial arts fight sequence. I had to find out more. A quick Google search led me to English subtitled episodes of a show called Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. And it was glorious.
I didn’t mean for it to happen. I thought I’d just check it out once. Take a quick look, strike it off my “Things I’ve Never Done” list, and walk away. I never thought I’d become one of them. I never planned on this becoming part of who I was.
About six months ago I became a Tokusatsu fan.